Police shoot Nigerian student dead in Canada

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Afolabi Stephen Opaso, a 19-year-old international student originally from Nigeria enrolled at the University of Manitoba, tragically lost his life in an encounter with Canadian police.

The family’s representative, Winnipeg lawyer Jean-René-Dominique Kwilu, stated that Opaso was fatally shot by Winnipeg police on New Year’s Eve.

According to CTV News, Winnipeg police reported the incident to the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) shortly after the event occurred at around 2:20 p.m. on December 31. Law enforcement had responded to reports of a man exhibiting erratic behavior at an apartment suite in the first 100 block of University Crescent.

The IIU said two officers responded and found three people inside the suite. Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth told reporters on Monday one of the people, a 19-year-old man, was armed with two knives.

Smyth said the officers “were involved in a use of force encounter” and one of them shot the man.

Police said the man was taken to hospital in critical condition where he died of his injuries. The two other people in the suite were not injured.

Kwilu, said according to witnesses he has spoken to, Opaso was having a mental health episode when one of the people in the suite called 911.

Kwilu said, “They made sure they said this was a mental health situation, that the person is their friend, you know, is not a danger to anyone. It was just that they needed assistance.

“At this point, there’s no indication that Afolabi attacked the police, or anything like that.”

He said Opaso’s family, none of whom are in Winnipeg, is shocked and traumatized.

“They sent their son here to get an education now he has to return home in a coffin,” he said.

Kwilu said Opaso’s family have questions about how the situation was handled by police, and want to know why a mental health call ended with Opaso’s death.

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